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International students bring £3.2billion to our economy

By NUS Press Team

Thursday 21 March 2019

#WeAreInternational campaign and National Union of Students welcome new report on the tax contributions of international graduates to the UK 

The #WeAreInternational campaign and the National Union of Students (NUS) have welcomed a new report detailing the major contribution international graduates make to the UK.

Analysis by London Economics commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways, published today (21 March 2019), shows that:

  • the tax and National Insurance payments of just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work after their studies amounts to £3.2 billion.
  • international graduates who find employment in the UK typically do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages.

Yinbo Yu, International Students’ Officer at the National Union of Students, said:

“This is an important and timely report. The contribution that international students make to the UK’s universities, economy, communities and global standing is already clear. Every constituency in the UK is better off economically because of students and the surveys show the public support international students.

“Now we know this benefit to the UK doesn’t end at graduation but continues as international graduates work in areas of staff shortages such as medicine or teaching, or key areas of the economy such as IT and manufacturing. The consequence is a £3.2 billion bonus to the UK economy.”

A spokesperson for the UK-wide #WeAreInternationalcampaign added:

“This report makes clear for the first time that international graduates not only provide skills in areas of the economy where there are real shortages, but they also make a major contribution to the UK through their taxes.

“At a time when the government has itself acknowledged the opportunity to attract more international students to the UK and committed to review policies to support growth, this report underpins the case to reinstate the competitive post-study work rights for which students themselves have long lobbied.

“Far from the idea that international students who undertake a period of work after their courses should be discouraged, we now know international graduates are a national asset. It is in our interest and theirs to make sure our visa system reflects that.”

Read the full HEPI and Kaplan report The UK’s tax revenues from international students post-graduation:


Notes to editors

Contact: NUS UK Press Office | | 07866 695 010 |

About #WeAreInternational

The #WeAreInternational campaign is supported by UK universities, students and businesses. It celebrates the contribution of our international universities and lobbies for changes in policy to better reflect the benefits of international students, teachers and research to cities and communities across the UK.  

About NUS UK

The National Union of Students (NUS) is a confederation of 600 student’s unions across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Through our members we represent, campaign on behalf of and support the interests of more than seven million students.

Working with more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education students’ unions across the UK our main purpose is to defend, promote and extend the rights of students to make a real difference to their educational experience. Our goal is a country where everyone can access and thrive in education regardless of their background, and a society where students are valued as active citizens.

As education policy is devolved in the UK, we deliver our democratic and student voice activities through NUS UK and our nation-based teams in NUS Scotland, NUS Wales and NUS-USI.


Through our teams in NUS Services and NUS Charity we help member students’ unions develop and build effective students’ unions for all learners. Working with commercial partners, such as Endsleigh and OneVoice, we ensure students’ money is reinvested back in the student movement.